How To Choose The Right Instant Pot For You
If youre on a budget, go for the Lux model. If you want to be able to make yogurt, but dont need the fancy settings, consider the Duo.
When choosing one of the higher-end models, you should base your decision on what feature you most want to be able to use. The smart app is a great reason to choose the Smart. The center dial is a great reason to buy a model with that feature.
If you want to use it as a sous vide machine, buy the Max. If you want to use it as a canning system, also buy the Max. To be perfectly honest, its hard to go wrong no matter what model of instant pot you choose.
Ive had a Duo Plus for a long time and I love it. There could be additional features, but they arent necessary and dont stop me from cooking whatever I want.
Blogs And Google Searches
If youre looking for something specific, doing a quick Google search is always a great idea. Youll be able to find just about any type of Instant Pot recipe through a Google search.
Along the way, youll likely come across all sorts of different blogs where fellow Instant Pot users share their experiences and recipes. Bookmark them, or simply browse around when you come across them for plenty of fresh recipe ideas. Try the recipes as is, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own take on a dish.
Making Bone Broth In A Slow Cooker Pros
I was finally able to get consistently gelling broth when I switched from the stovetop to a slow cooker. And I made bone broth in my slow cooker for years and years.
Pros of making bone broth in a slow cooker:
#1 No babysitting.
I burned a few batches of broth when I made it on the stove and let me tell ya, scrubbing out the burned remains of chicken feet and bones from the bottom of a stainless steel pot is not how I want to spend an afternoon.
The slow cooker, set on low, stays at a fairly constant temperature, meaning I can go to bed and leave it overnight without having to worry about waking up to a burned batch in the morning.
#2 More consistent temperature.
Cooking on an electric stove frequently results in having to adjust the stoves temperature.
Cooking on a gas stove may require less adjusting, but you do have to adjust nonetheless.
The slow cooker really requires no adjusting.
#3 Less waste.
A lot of water evaporates when cooking anything liquid on the stove top. Put a lid on your pot and the temperature goes up leading to boiling over, liquid evaporation, and needing to babysit the temperature.
What starts as a gallon of water may leave you with only two to three quarts of stock if relying on a pot without a lid that seals and the stove top. I have this Crock Pot, and I lose very little liquid because of the lid that seals down tightly.
#4 Amazing for bigger bones.
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Instant Pot Or Slow Cooker What I Use
Im sure you guessed it
I am 100% on Team Instant Pot and make bone broth or foot broth in it about once per week!
Since I cant get beef bones, I just dont make beef bone broth. The Instant Pot works beautifully with pork and chicken bones/feet!
Ive even found that I can use chicken or pork bone broth in recipes that normally call for beef broth! Theres really no difference!
Make sure you check out these helpful posts for the most nourishing bone broth and Instant Pot tips:
It Can Reach A Higher Psi
The biggest difference between a traditional pressure cooker and an Instant Pot is the level of PSI or pressure that can be reached. A traditional pressure cooker can reach a PSI of 15 on the stove top, while most Instant Pot models , can only reach a PSI of 12.
What this means is that the traditional cooker actually cooks faster than the Instant Pot. If time is your main concern, the traditional cooker wins.
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First Things First What Is An Instant Pot
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The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker but also a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, big sauté pot, steamer, and more. We have the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo which is what we use for all our Instant Pot recipes. They also make a 3-Quart Instant Pot Mini and a hefty 8-quart Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is an absolute game-changer, especially on busy nights. Most recipes are dump and cook, and all you have to do is set it all up and then WALK AWAY to do other fun stuff like watch TV, walk your dog, clean your house, have a dance party, etc.
BONUS: it also cooks food way faster than other ways to cook and its all done in one pot. Do you get why we love this thing yet?
If youre still not convinced, the Instant Pot is PRIME for meal prepping and freezer meals no thawing required. You can check out all our freezer meal Instant Pot recipes here if youre into that kind of stuff .
Well also just drop the obvious: its also a pretty excellent gift for a certain holiday coming around the corner.
Alright, lets get on with it. Here are some of our favorite ways to use this little gem.
The Best Instant Pot For You: A Comprehensive Guide To Every Size And Model
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Youve heard the hype, read the articles, perused the recipes, and come to the conclusion that you absolutely need an Instant Pot . But finding the best Instant Pot model for your unique cooking needs is a more involved task than it may seem. This buying guide for the beloved kitchen appliance has the answer to every anxious Instant Pot question you may have and will help you determine which of the many varieties is right for you.
Though every Instant Pot model has the same basic multi-cooking functionality that made it a household favorite, some are more versatile than others. Most of the models are very similar in terms of pot size, wattage, and voltage where they differ is mostly in the softwarehow many smart programs are built in with preset heat, time, and pressure levels.
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How We Test Instant Pots
To see how Instant Pots and multi-cookers stack up, weve spent hundreds of hours whipping up curries and chillies, preparing batches of rice and even steaming portions of vegetables, comparing the end results. Were looking for meat that falls off the bone but is still tender and succulent, rice thats fluffy but still with some bite and crisp vegetables. Weve also compared how easy they are to use and just how much they speed up cooking by.
We evaluate each model on how many different cooking methods it offers, how durable and easy to clean the body and parts are, how loud it is in use and when releasing pressure and how hot the exterior casing gets. Were also assessing how simple each multi-cooker is to use and whether you need to read the instruction manual before cooking, whether recipe inspiration is provided and the useful accessories such as racks and trays it comes with.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp
This standout 11-in-1 pressure cooker does something that none of the other Instant Pots can do: air-fry! Talk about a space saver. Instead of having two separate kitchen appliances, you get both products all wrapped up in one. Like all Instant Pot models, this comes with advanced safety features and access to a digital library of more than 1,000 Instant Pot recipes.
Sizes available: 8-quart Instant PotBuilt-in smart programs: 11
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A Summary Of My Instant Pot Review
Clearly, I am still a fan. A huge fan. And a bigger one than when I reviewed it more than three years ago. I love that it really does save me time. It helps me with meal prep. And it makes a few dishes that just taste better than other methods. While I certainly dont use all the functions on this small appliance, the ones I do use make it worth the real estate it takes up in my small kitchen. If you told me three years ago that I was going to be such a huge fan, Im not sure I would have believed you. But now it makes me wonder: How much more will I love it in three more years when I have a toddler?
How long have you had your Instant Pot? Do you love it as much as I love mine?
Kelli is the Food Editor for Plan & Prep content for Kitchn. She’s a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and author of the cookbooks, Plant-Based Buddha Bowls, The Probiotic Kitchen, Buddha Bowls, and Everyday Freekeh Meals. She lives in New Jersey.
Cons To Consider Before Buying An Instant Pot
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Instant Pot Cheesy Garlic Orzo
This delicious cheesy side made with the Instant Pot Mini actually makes 4-6 servings which the Mini can totally accommodate, but you can easily halve this recipe to make a 2-3 serving side dish with ridiculously cheesy goodness in every bite. Orzo is the perfect pasta for soaking it all up! Recipe from Simply Happy Foodie.
Air Fryer Sausage Balls
This time I tested out the baking function instead at 350 F for 10 min for super easy, party-friendly, 3-ingredient sausage balls. Its shredded sharp cheddar cheese, ground sausage and a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.
The air fryer was 5 minutes faster than baking in a traditional oven, with better, even coloring. The oven always has one flat dark side no matter if you rotate or turn them.
One great advantage of baking in this machine instead of the traditional big oven is keeping that heat all contained. Thats the main reason the Instant Pot is so wonderful on hot summer days. So this air fryer follows the same standard of cutting energy cost and heat. I can also see this as a nice addition when your kitchen oven is already cooking other dishes for dinner, you need to bake a cake. Just bake the cake in the air fryer. Its more gentle on baked desserts anyway.
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Note: Air Frying Does Not Guarantee A Healthful Diet
There has been a lot of talk about how air fryers are revolutionizing peoples diets. While 100 grams of fried and battered chicken breast contains 13.2 g of fat, compared to just 0.39 g of fat in an oven-roasted chicken breast, you reasonably see how that can be a sound conclusion.
You are using just 1 tablespoon of cooking oil rather than multiple cups, producing similar results as deep fryer with a fraction of the fat and calories. This lowering oil intake can be beneficial for a persons health dealing with heart disease and inflammation. However, it is not guaranteed that air-fried chicken is more healthful than roasted, grilled, slow-cooked, or pan-seared chicken.
Just replacing all deep-fried foods with air-fried foods in no way guarantees a healthful diet. People should focus on a diet filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. Maintaining a variety of foods and cooking methods will help people obtain a more healthful diet.
The Cooking Time Depends On You
Not all nights are created equal: Sometimes we need a fast, easy dinner to throw together at the last minute, and other days we have to rely on a slow-cooker to have dinner waiting when we get home. An Instant Pot adjusts no matter what kind of day it is or how much time you have to spend on a meal.
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Is An Instant Pot Worth The Money
Lets take a look at the instant pot and whether or not its worth the money. Depending on the time of year, and what kind of deal you can find, the average Instant Pot will set you back anywhere from $70 to $150.
While its not the cheapest kitchen appliance on the market, it does have multiple uses and can take the place of other expensive appliances you might need.
You can purchase a stove top pressure cooker or slow cooker for around $25. Does that mean the Instant Pot is overpriced, or something you shouldnt consider buying? I dont think so.
If you arent sure if youll actually use it, the Instant Pot may be a waste of money. On the other hand, youll end up using it quite a bit if you keep it on your counter and use it as your pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker.
Ive found that those who purchase an Instant Pot and then promptly put it in a cupboard and never look at it again are the ones who say its not worth it. The first step is always the hardest.
If you vow to use it at least once or twice when you first receive it, it will be an investment thats well worth it. After I used mine the first few times, I couldnt put it away. I was using it every day.
Look through some recipes, borrow a friends Instant Pot if possible, and see if this seems like the type of appliance that will work well for you and your lifestyle.
Where To Buy An Instant Pot In The Uk
Laying your hands on an Instant Pot is more difficult than you might think. It is often sold out in the UK, although it can be bought from various places when in stock.
It also can be found on eBay sometimes at highly inflated prices but if you really cant get hold of one, weve also reviewed traditional pressure cookers which can operate as stand-ins.
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How To Use An Instant Pot
As a pressure cooker
Choose a recipe to suit pressure cooking. If cooking meat or chicken, choose cuts that have plenty of fat and connective tissue lean meat and chicken breasts to do not cook well under pressure and will come out stringy. Anything with bones in it will cook well, from whole chickens, wings and thighs, to beef and pork ribs.
Grains and pulses do well but do check the fill line rules if you are starting with dried ingredients. Vegetables cook very quickly in a pressure cooker but will become very tender. We tried it with red cabbage and while the flavour was excellent after five minutes cooking, once wed bubbled off the excess liquid the texture was very soft.
As a slow cooker
You can use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker by cooking with the steam vent open and not using pressure. If you do a lot of slow cooking you might want to buy a glass lid for this function. The Duo has a good base heating element and strong lid seal but you do need to make sure it has got hot enough to cook things through.
As a rice cooker
This function works efficiently for basmati rice but you do need to be careful not to overcook it. We took 2 minutes off the recommended time and soaked the rice for 15 minutes first.
When you take the lid off, the rice will all be at the base and needs fluffing up straight away. If you are a fan of fried rice then youll find this the perfect way to cook it as the rice dries very fast and wont stick at all when fried.
Pros1 Faster Cooking With Pressure
What drives the Instant Pots popularityapart from its ability to make great foodis that it provides users with the most sacred resource of all: Time. Yes, meal prep and warming the machine are required, but the dishwasher-safe Instant Pot dutifully cooks two to six times faster than conventional methods. That means you can cook braises like pulled pork, tender stew and roast beef in under an hour, making them weeknight accessible.
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